January 27 2020

Burlington’s State Rep. Joins Vote to Protect Persons with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities from Abuse


Burlington representative in the State House voted to help protect persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities from abuse. 


“Massachusetts’ persons with disabilities will be able to count on new and significant protection from abuse or neglect according to provisions unanimously passed by State Representative Ken Gordon and his colleagues,” a release from Rep. Gordon’s office states. “The bill creates a registry of care providers whose abuse of intellectually or developmentally disabled (I/DD) individuals has been substantiated. Programs funded or operated by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) would be barred from hiring those listed on the registry.” 


An Act to protect persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities from abuse, also known as “Nicky’s Law,” protects such individuals from serial abusers. Nicky’s Law gives the Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DPPC) the authority to decide when “substantiated findings” indicate that a care provider caused serious physical or emotional harm to a person with an intellectual or developmental disability. The legislation includes due process protections for care providers who deny the allegations.


“I commend the work of Chair Khan and the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities,” Said Rep. Gordon. “This bill implements important protections for some of the most vulnerable members of our community, especially those who are non-verbal or have difficulty communicating. Nicky’s Law helps break the cycles of abuse that have persisted under our current system.”


The bill requires all employers funded or operated by the DDS to check the registry prior to hiring or retaining any person as a care provider, and prevents them from employing a listed individual. Under the bill, DCCP imposes monetary fines or other penalties on any employer that fails to comply.


The legislation builds on growing support for departments that serve adults and children with intellectual or developmental disabilities. From 2012 to 2020, DPPC funding has increased by 93 percent. 


The bill will now go to the Senate.


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